Spent the day in a Technical Interchange Meeting here at a conference center. Saw an interesting video this morning about the new journey back to the moon and saw the launch manifest of vehicles from about the next 15 years. The ship going to the moon is rather big. It oughtta be, considering they are planning on establishing a permanent base on the moon.

Had a “business” lunch at a great Mexican restaurant, Mom Alone. Impeccable service, great food, and, when I asked the woman alone at the cash register if she was Mom, she verified that indeed she was. When I bought a Mercedes on Ebay several years ago and flew to Houston to pick it up and drive it to Florida, I talked about what there was to do in Houston with the salesman, who was from Iran. (We ate at a Middle Eastern restaurant, and when I offered him some hummus–a favorite of mine–, he recoiled in horror, saying, “No! That’s Arab food.!” I recall from business school that a deal was lost when a person insensitively spoke of the “Arabian Sea” to the wrong person. Try “Persian Sea” or whatever.) My Iranian salesman remarked that it was so hot in Houston that people went to restaurants and ate a lot, not having a lot of recreational opportunities in the heat. Not sure what the connection is, but in as expanse of road I was driving today I saw so many good-looking restaurants that it seemed that within a few miles you could eat at a different good restaurant every day for months. Like Fort Worth, there are a lot of fat people here. Too hot to exercise?

I don’t use fat as a pejorative term. If I were fat, I’d own up to it. Being fat is something people take seriously. When I was working at Disney, I heard a woman had complained that when she wanted to buy a shirt, they didn’t have her size: XXXL. Disney took this complaint seriously. Disney takes every word a guest says seriously, and analyzes it with the highest level people who can be hired. Impressive operation.

Fat. A woman was at the back of the plane I arrived on. Before we took off, she couldn’t fit in her seat. They had to get two people in first class to move so they could sit her down up there. I didn’t laugh or make fun. After all, she’s going to Houston, where the streets are paved with restaurants. I decided I wanted a salad. Tooling down the street, I saw the neon sign: SALAD EXPRESS. Turning lane time. Other restaurants all over the place, I noticed as I got out of the car. As I approached the door, a woman exited, about the same size as the woman who couldn’t sit in coach.

The biggest salad bar I’ve ever seen, all fresh. Baked potatoes, soup, fruit, Mexican tacos, ice cream, brownies, etc. For a nominal price–all you can eat. It would take weeks to sample everything here (if you ate once a day).

I put my backpack in a booth, then head to the salad bar–a long, deep one. A young lady has started just in front of me. It’s slow going, as I wait for her, slightly annoyed as she yacks on the phone. Slowly, she progresses. Although I’m not intentionally listening to her conversation, I cannot help but discern that she’s talking to her mother, who has lost a lot of weight. The woman says she’s trying to lose weight, too. Step by step, I move down the line. As we reach the end, I look at her. Although I realize it’s the height of rudeness to comment on someone’s private conversation, I find myself saying, “You won’t lose any weight eating here.” She looks at me, smiles, and says, “No. I live on the road anyway. this is all for me” (this last with a firm finality).

As I sat eating my salad, I observed several heavyset women, some of normal weight, and a few fat ones. Obesity really is a problem in the U.S. I got small seconds on the salad, a bowl of Italian chicken soup, some fruit and a little apple-nut-coconut-etc. concoction, which, when I was eating I felt my belt getting dangerously tight. I definitely gained some weight in the brief time I was in Houston.

Back at the hotel, I decide it’s time to hit the pool, it having been a year and a month since I last used my total immersion swimming skills. Putting on my trunks, I exit the door wearing nothing else. Barefoot, I immediately step in some mud on the sidewalk that I momentarily mistake for dog doo. Investigation over, I head for the pool.

Stepping into the water, it feels cold. Step by step, I go down until my trunks are wet. Remembering my goggles at the side of the pool, I get out and retrieve them. Getting the goggles, I’m suddenly no longer cold. I start swimming in the small pool diagonally. One breath and a few strokes from one end of the pool to the other. Back balance… A few people come to the window to see what is going on. As always, after the swim I feel younger.

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1 Response

  1. sd says:

    This is one of the funniest stories I read. Very well written, riveting style

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